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Hide and Seek in the Dark · 14 November 2008

By about the third or fourth grade, hide and seek is not much of a thrill anymore for most kids, but when I was in fifth or sixth grade, every kid in our neighborhood played the game. We just played it n the dark to make things more exciting.


Spring and summer nights around our house were time to play hide and seek. There was not much traffic and we were old enough to run around hiding in everybody’s yards. Playing around dusk and into the dark was not necessarily the brightest thing to do, but we all had a healthy appreciation of traffic safety and watched out for the few cars that came on our street.


Our neighborhood was great for playing hide and seek. Susie and Jimmy lived across the street so either yard was in play. There were a couple guys down the street who would play and it seemed that Mike or Brook was always over. When it got too dark to play football, we played hide and seek.


Not only were there plenty of kids our age who could play in the dark, there were lots of great places to hide that would be mediocre or less in the day. (Lying near a shrub or hedge or standing near a tree or house would never work in the light of day.) There were hedges to hide under at Jimmy and Susie’s house and at ours. There were trees to stand by in almost every yard and there were no cars parked on the street (which kept it a pretty safe game).


We always played with one of the two trees in our front yard as the base. The game was kind of a cross between hide and seek and tag. Whoever was IT had to either tag a person trying to get to base or get back to base first when IT spotted somebody. “One, two, three on the shadow,” did not work for night time hide and seek.


Some people seemed to have their favorite hiding places. Mike liked to stay by the other tree in our yard and sneak to base when IT was going the other way. Russell liked to go up the driveway and press himself into the wall of the house waiting for the right opportunity to make his dash. I do not know where Susie hid but she seemed to appear from the shadows and always get to base safely. Brook liked to kneel behind the hedges and jump over them to get to base, but he rarely hid in the same place. When he hid near somebody, he was easy to find because he was always trying to stifle his laughs because he could rarely stifle his gas. Jimmy and I tended to go under the hedges and try to beat IT back to base when we were found. When it got really dark, some people would just lie on the grass out in the open and then make a mad dash for base when IT was looking the other way. It was great fun no matter who was playing.


As I look back to those last innocent years of elementary school, I am glad that we were not too cool to play “baby” games. We had lots of fun just being kids and even though conventional wisdom would have said we were too old for traditional hide and seek, spring and summer nights were perfect for hide and seek in the dark.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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From Long Walks Home or Pee on Poo, Potty on the Shoe, unpublished.

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